Home Schoolers Build Bridges on Preserve

11/05/09 by Staff Writer

Nearly 20 home-schooled students in Rowan County recently completed the construction of a second bridge on the ecological preserve adjacent to the Center for the Environment building on the Catawba College campus.

The students, ages 14-18, built two 12-by-8-foot bridges as a volunteer project. The bridges, which are wide enough for both pedestrians and the preserve vehicles, spanned canals that beavers had dug, restoring the trail system.

Anna McKinzie of the Rowan County Home School Association arranged the community service project. She notes that such efforts not only contribute to the community; they also serve as a bonding experience for the students.

She and her family have found the preserve to be a place of reflection and discovery. “I wanted to share this with the kids,” she says, “to show them the trails and also give them a way to practically help to preserve this wonderful asset in our community.”

It was a good experience for the students. “They learned what it takes to build a bridge: hands-on skills -- planning, hauling, measuring, using tools,” McKinzie says. They also learned about the preserve and did some pruning and trail clearing.

“They genuinely felt like they had contributed to a need in the preserve and had been allowed to really do the work of the project,” she says.  “Kurt (Cribb), Dan (Robertson) and Matt (Hendricks) were excellent teachers and were very patient with the kids, giving them good instruction.”

Cribb, special projects coordinator, expressed appreciation for the students’ work. “We are grateful for the work these students did as volunteers on our preserve,” he says. “They enthusiastically tackled this restoration project and did a great job. Now visitors can walk the trails again without interruption.”


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